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Dr. Meltzer Launches Initiative for Residents to Improve Communications Skills in Surrogate Decision-Making

Dr. Ellen Meltzer

Dr. Ellen C. Meltzer was recently interviewed regarding a research paper that she and colleagues published in the Journal of Graduate Medical Education (JGME). As part of the JGME’s quarterly “Spotlight on Authors” series, Dr. Meltzer discussed a new workshop that she spearheaded for improving resident communication with surrogate decision-makers (e.g. family members of patients) facing difficult or end-of-life decisions.

Often residents-in-training are called upon to facilitate end-of-life care and goal care discussions with family members of patients, and Dr. Meltzer, along with other Weill Cornell faculty, are helping internal medicine residents to build their skills in this specialized form of communication. The new initiative is designed to improve the overall surrogate experience, as well as the medical care provided to vulnerable patients “who can no longer speak for themselves,” explains Dr. Meltzer. “Data from our workshop highlights the need for educational interventions that specifically target communication with surrogates, many of whom suffer from stress, anxiety, and guilt when faced with making a medical decision on behalf of a loved one. We look forward to expanding the scope of our curriculum, and sharing it with trainees in other disciplines.”

A general internist and an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Medial Ethics, Dr. Meltzer is an expert in preventive medicine who is known for engaging patients in measures to improve their own health and for providing comprehensive patient care.

Related Links

JGME video
JGME article